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Rethink Robotics

interview by   -   January 22, 2016


In this episode, we celebrate our 200th episode! That’s over 6000 minutes of robot goodness and nearly 8 years releasing interviews with your favorite roboticists. The podcast is all volunteer run, a special thanks to everyone on the team who’s made this possible! And thanks to all of you for listening in all these years.

To celebrate, our president Audrow Nash has invited a team of old-timers from the podcast team, and one of our favorite recurring guests, Rodney Brooks from Rethink Robotics.

by   -   December 16, 2015

Launched in the summer of 2015, the Challenge was created to highlight the amazing work being done by the research and education community with the Baxter robot. With more than 90 total entries from 19 countries around the globe, the Humans to Robots Lab at Brown University was a standout in the criteria of relevancy, innovation and breadth of impact.

by   -   September 28, 2015

Rethink Robotics displayed their new single-armed Sawyer robot at the RoboBusiness Conference and Expo in San Jose on Wednesday. It was Sawyer's first public outing and the crowd of over 1,600 was paying attention.

by   -   February 2, 2015


Rethink Robotics, Xenix, Rapyuta, Perceptron, Skydio, Sarcos and JIBO have all announced substantial fundings for a wide range of robotic ventures. Plus there are some new funders joining the fray.

by   -   December 14, 2013
A sad day at Rethink Robotics. 21 jobs have been cut in Rethink's first layoff.
A sad day at Rethink Robotics. 21 jobs have been cut in Rethink’s first layoff.

Although Rethink Robotics is downsizing, their action is not indicative of the robotics industry, which is booming and hiring.

The Boston Globe reported that Rethink Robotics, maker of the $22,000 Baxter 2-armed robot, has cut 21 jobs from their staff of approximately 90.

by   -   December 10, 2013


Robolution panel at the Pioneers Festival in Vienna.

It’s not every day you get to ask pioneering robot startup founders about their journey. The Robolution panel at the Pioneers Festival in Vienna comprised Rodney Brooks from Rethink Robotics and previously iRobot, Steve Cousins from Savioke and previously Willow Garage, Noland Katter from Anybots, and Walter Wohlkinger and Michael Zillich of Blue Danube Robotics, a new startup from Vienna University. Between them the panelists have started or spunoff well over 15 robotics companies, started the first robotics venture fund and been hugely influential in shaping the current rapidly emerging robot startup space. ‘Fast, cheap and out of control’ was Brooks’s 1987 insight into robot exploration of the solar system, but is very apt today, as drivers like open source software, affordable COTS and crowdfunding expand possibilities.

by   -   October 5, 2013

UPDATED: October 6, 2013

Small and medium shops and factories (SMEs) are an untapped marketplace for robotics but direly in need of automation to remain competitive in this global economy. Two new start up companies: Rethink Robotics and Universal Robots have entered that marketplace. Both companies have U.S. sales in the hundreds of units; Universal has a head start internationally and has sold about 3,000 to-date, but Rethink is way ahead in the US. Both have similar 60-100/mo manufacturing run rates – so the future looks bright for selling flexible, lightweight, low-cost robots that are easily programmed, safe for humans to work alongside, don’t require a caged or roped off area, and perform at affordable metrics.

by   -   May 14, 2013

Much has been said about the need to augment the skills and increase the productivity of small factory workers by using robotic assistants called co-robots. Europe funded an SME (Small and Medium-sized Enterprise) public-private consortium to determine the needs and develop robotic solutions for those needs. In America, venture and privately-funded Rethink Robotics whose founder and CTO is ex-MIT Professor and iRobot co-founder Rodney Brooks has been doing the same thing: developing an adaptive manufacturing robot that can work safely alongside human workers. Brooks is devoted to — and an eloquent spokesman for — his mission of creating smarter, more adaptable, low-cost robotic solutions that can help manufacturers improve efficiency, increase productivity and reduce their need for offshoring.

by   -   April 26, 2013

Research version of Baxter, from Rethink Robotics

Rethink Robotics has announced the availability of a bundle, called the Baxter Research Robot, which includes their Baxter robot and a Software Development Kit, for US$22,000.

by   -   March 22, 2013

Henrik Christensen, the KUKA Chair of Robotics at GA Tech and Chairman of the Roadmap project, Rodney Brooks, CEO of Rethink Robotics, Pete Wurman, CTO of Kiva Systems, and Russ Angold, CTO of Ekso Bionics all presented the new Roadmap to a packed gallery of the Robotics Caucus of the US Congress.

by   -   January 14, 2013
CBS News Reporter Steve Kroft interviews Rodney Brooks at ReThink Robotics.
Click on the image to see the segment.

On Sunday, January 13, CBS News 60 Minutes reported on robots. Their focal point was jobs and the changing nature of work. As a backdrop to their comments they showed Tessla Motors’ robots retooling themselves, Adept’s robots stuffing boxes with packaged lettuce and also assembling Braun shavers, watched ReThink Robots slowly pick and place an item, saw Aethon’s tugs in action in hospital corridors and had a brief glimpse of InTouch Health’s RP-VITA remote presence medical robot and a more descriptive view of the VGo Communications VGo robot at school and for home care. In the process the reporter, Steve Kroft, discussed a new definition of robots and robotics in sharp disagreement from the definitions posed by the International Federation of Robots:

Steve Kroft said, “The broad universal definition is a machine that can perform the job of a human. The machine can be mobile or stationary, hardware or software.”

by   -   January 2, 2013


Today’s robotics industry could use some strategic guidance,
particularly in the area of healthcare.


It is clear to me that the next big markets for robotics are:

  • SMEs (robot workers and co-workers in Small and Medium-sized Enterprises)
  • Medical and healthcare (nursing assistance, surgeon augmentation, operating room assistance, therapeutic assistance, home care, remote presence, hospital automation)
  • Agriculture (robotically automated planting, weeding, harvesting, sorting and packaging)
  • Embedded systems within our cars, trucks and taxis
by   -   October 15, 2012


Speaking at CMU Robotics Institute as part of their RI Seminar Series, Rodney Brooks, Founder, Chairman, and CTO of Rethink Robotics (originally Heartland Robotics), talked about their new Baxter robot, what drove its design, and the circumstances surrounding the formation of the company. His talk is followed by about fifteen minutes of Q&A.

September 5, 2014

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